Watch out for a federal budget plan that tries to set up public schools to fail

Here in Texas we are justifiably preoccupied with our first-in-the-nation primary elections coming up on March 6 (with early voting starting next Tuesday, February 20). For an overview of Texas AFT recommendations in contested primaries, see https://www.texasaft.org/action/elections/texas-aft-endorsements-for-the-march-6-primaries/.

But we had better keep an eye at the same time on the Trump administration’s plan for a federal education budget harmful to children and their public schools. AFT President Randi Weingarten has taken a close look at this budget plan, newly announced this week, and finds much not to like if you care about good public education. Thank goodness that announcing a bunch of bad ideas is one thing, while actually enacting them is quite another and more arduous.

Weingarten says:

“President Trump and Secretary DeVos’ budget poses a lethal threat to public education.

“Trump and DeVos gave trillions in tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, and, in this budget, they are taking billions from kids and public schools—particularly from those kids and schools in communities whose majorities are nonwhite or poor. Far from the softer image DeVos is trying to promote, this is a budget from an administration that is trying to set up public schools to fail.

“By putting forth a budget that includes the same cruel cuts as last year, Trump, DeVos and Vice President Pence show that they have failed to learn anything. This budget:

–Eliminates funding for community schools, lower class sizes, and after-school and summer programs;

–Strips professional development and training resources for teachers and paraprofessionals;

–Makes a mockery of Trump’s rhetoric calling for more career and technical education programs;

–Eviscerates programs that make college more affordable, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program that enables and encourages thousands to enter into teaching and public service jobs; and

–Promotes failed voucher and for-profit strategies that aim to turn public education into an unregulated market.”